“Emptiness”: BoA, Queen of K-Pop, Returns With a Breakup Banger

BoA dances through heartbreak with an Afrobeats-inspired beat.

“You feel nothing, really? It’s this easy to leave me?”

BoA‘s back with a brand new, brokenhearted beat – not to be confused with her super-group GOT the beat.

24 years deep into her career (marinate on that for a moment), and two years after her last EP (2022’s Forgive Me), the Queen of K-Pop™ returns to us with her latest groove on Tuesday (March 26): “Emptiness.

And while the lonesome promotional photos and bleak song title might have suggested an emotional ballad incoming, the ever-generous dancing queen still managed to channel those sad feelings into something we can all bop along to, described by SM Entertainment as “a journey of self-healing from betrayal and heartbreak.”

The angry, angsty cut provides plenty to chew on vocally across the shuffling beat: an impassioned yelp of a pre-chorus (“every tiiii-i-i-me…every niiii-i-i-ight…“), some catchy nah-nah-nah-nahs in the kiss-off of a chorus (“Don’t give me that talk“), some post-chorus crooning, and even a surprising speak-sung moment in second verse.

The Afrobeats-influenced beat is only further evidence of the genre’s takeover on a global level, thanks to acts like Rema, as well as Tyla‘s amapiano-soaked “Water” and self-titled debut. It makes sense to hear BoA’s sonic palette expanding: she’s in the history books as one of the first K-pop acts to bust down international barriers, after all.

The dramatic music video sees the “My Name” mega-star sadly blowing out her candles, shattering glasses and just generally soaking and sulking as her relationship comes to an end. That is, when she’s not busting a move, providing plenty of tear-wiping choreography for dancing those demons away. The video arrives at an interesting time, as she’s been making headlines playing the villainous Oh Yu-ra in the K-drama Marry My Husband – perhaps she channeled some of her feelings on that feedback into this comeback.

And, just in case the singing and dancing skills on display weren’t enough evidence of her talent, there’s the construction of the song itself: it was written and arranged by BoA herself, alongside Livy and Prime Time, as well as arranger Shaun Kim, who’s worked on a handful of tracks with her for the last few years since Woman including “Black,” which feels like a sonic sibling to “Emptiness.”

Over two decades deep into her career, BoA’s still making fresh music, exploring new sounds and styles, and expanding her creative contributions to her craft. We’re so lucky to watch her continue her reign.

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Photo credit: SM Entertainment

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